Bad and Beautiful
Academy Challenge 2002
Summary: This little Uber tale (with some alt. action) is set after WWII. Our Uber-Xena and Uber-Gabrielle are up to trouble, as usual.
Disclaimer: No violence, not much bad language, and yes on the subtext.
Thanks to you know who for you know what. J
On with the story.
"Please help me!" The young woman screamed while clutching her snow-dampened blond hair is fright. Heads turned on the busy Chicago sidewalk, searching for the woman in trouble. Spotting the damsel in distress, a well-dressed businessman rushed over to the small blonde woman.
"Miss, are you okay?" He asked, his handsome face concerned.
"That man!" The blond answered, her voice rushed and filled with fear. "He stole my purse!"
"What man?" The gentleman inquired, searching the crowd.
"He went that way! Hes wearing a blue jacket! Please find him!" The woman pointed off into the crowd, the suited man valiantly striding in the direction she pointed.
"Stay here!" He called, breaking into a run. "Ill find your purse!"
Minutes later the gentleman returned, his hands empty. He slowly approached the blonde, his face grim with disappointment.
"Im sorry, Miss. I couldnt find him."
"But he has my purse and all of my money! I just went to the bank and took out my savings in order to buy my children their Christmas presents!" She wailed, throwing her hand over her forehead. "What am I going to do?"
His eyes brimming with sympathetic tears, the man pulled the blonde into his embrace. "Ill help you in any way that I can." He whispered fiercely.
Releasing him, she wiped the tears from her deep green eyes and said softly, "Thank you."
"The least I can do for a beautiful lady such as yourself." Taking his wallet out from his back pocket, he opened it. "How much did you lose?"
Thinking quickly, the blonde answered. "My entire life savings. $200.00" She burst into tears again.
His eyes widen with surprise. "$200.00? Thats a lot of money just for Christmas presents!"
She bit her bottom lip nervously. "I know, but my children mean the world to me, especially now that my husband just died." She lowered her pretty eyes to hide the tears that are falling freely down her cheeks.
"Im so sorry about your husband." The man offers, but she doesnt answer. "Damn Nazis" The businessman continues awkwardly, embarrassed that his questioning caused her pain. "Your husband a war man?"
Nodding her head, the blonde covered her face with her hands and sobbed. The businessman made his decision and removed two crisp $100.00 bills from his wallet, along with his business card.
"Here you are Maam. I know this cant replace your purse, or your husband, but it can at least give Christmas presents to your poor children." He gently placed the money into the blondes surprised hand. "And here is my phone number, please call me any time if you need anything. Id love to take you and your children out for a nice dinner sometime."
Smiling shyly, the blondes hand curled around the money. "You are so kind, I dont know what I would have done without you." Her voice is sweet, and after placing the money carefully into the pocket of her threadbare winter jacket, she stood up on her tiptoes in order to give the gentleman a warm hug.
He pulled back, flustered. "My pleasure Maam. I usually dont carry that much cash on me, but tonights my poker night." He smiled, his face red with embarrassment. "Please take care of yourself. I must go or Ill be late for work." He kissed her hand and turned to leave. "Whats your name?"
"Isabella." She responded, the edges of her mouth curling into a grin.
"Nice to meet you Isabella, my name is John. Please give me a ring sometime."
"I promise." She said, and then turned and disappeared into the crowd.
Fingers curling tightly around the money in her pocket, Isabella rushed over to the next street and made sure that she headed in the opposite direction from John. "This looks about right." She said to herself before getting lost in the crowd again. Making sure shes good and hidden she suddenly screamed, "Help me! That man stole my purse!" She hides her grin as several men rushed over to her. "Jackpot." She muttered under her breath.
"Miss, would you like another?" The server inquired to the striking woman lounging by the indoor pool. She idly waved her hand at him and he left her to her peace. Stretching her long legs, the raven-haired woman suddenly stood and approached the pool. Effortlessly she dove in, her sleek form making a perfect entry into the warm water. Swimming powerful laps, she pretended not to notice the gangly man approaching the poolside.
"Excuse me." He interrupted her swimming rhythm, his voice deep. She raised her eyebrow in annoyance and swam over to him. Lifting herself out of the pool gracefully, she retrieved her towel from the lounge chair and wrapped it around her long body.
"Yes?" She answered, her voice clipped yet polite. He smiled, his youthful face revealing clean, white teeth.
"I havent seen you around here." He inquired politely. "Are you a member?"
"My father is." The woman answered, "Hes meeting me here for lunch and told me to come early for a swim if I wanted." She smiled seductively. "And I wanted."
The young man chuckled. "Well, why dont I join you? That is if you dont mind." He pulls his shirt off to reveal a skinny and hairless chest. The woman looked at him and tried to hide her grin.
"It would make my day." She answered, her voice low and smooth. "Im Emma." She offered her hand and he took it, giving it a firm shake.
"Adam. My family owns this country club." He boasted proudly. "Well, the city club as we like to call it. The middle of Chicago isnt exactly in the country." He noted as he took off his pants, leaving him only in his bathing suit.
"Nice to meet you Adam." Emma smiled, diving into the pool. With a smile of his own, Adam joined her.
"So who is your father?" Adam inquired as he and Emma floated around the heated pool. "What does he do?"
"Robert Peters, and hes the owner an overseas textile plant." Emma said, her voice bored. Adams brow furrowed in thought.
"I dont know a Robert Peters thats a member here."
Emma chuckled. "Adam, you look like the kind of man that has more to do than hobnob with every member of his parents country club."
Taken aback, he hurriedly agreed with her.
"Join me for dinner?" He offered.
"Sure." Emma agreed, her mouth twisting into a mysterious smile. "Where?"
"What about here?"
Emma sighed disgustedly. "Adam, no matter how good the food is here, Im having lunch with my father soon. I wont want to eat here twice in one day."
Adam quickly realized that hes dealing with a spoiled rich girl, but a gorgeous spoiled rich girl. "Okay, we can go wherever you want to go."
"Fine. Ill meet you here at 8:00." Emma gave him one last lingering smile as she pulled herself out of the pool once again. "Ill see you tonight." She said, grabbing her towel and heading off to the changing area.
Isabella raced to the side of the street, waving her arm up to hail a cab. Glancing over her shoulder she realized that shes somehow lost the cop but she still needs to scram from here, and fast. On cue, an empty cab pulled over and she hopped inside.
She directs the driver to her street, and after the short ride gives him a tip before exiting the cab. Heading up the steps to her small, 2 room apartment, Isabella let herself in. "Okay, first a shower and some new clothes, and then Im going to treat myself tonight to a fabulous dinner." She smiled and headed to the shower.
At exactly 8:00pm Emma stepped out of the cab in front of the country club and joined Adam. "I thought La Mieux would suffice." She stated, smirking at Adams surprise.
"Of course its best. Its the most expensive restaurant in town." He chuckled before adding, "You look beautiful." Emma smiled and joined him in the cab. After giving the driver directions, they settled in the cab, Adams hand resting lightly on Emmas black silk-covered knee.
"How long have you lived here?" He inquired conversationally.
"Not long." Emma answered. "Ive moved around because of my fathers business my entire life. But I like Chicago, and Im thinking of staying here for a while." He nodded, clearing his throat.
"Its a nice town. I prefer the East Coast myself, my parents just bought me a penthouse in New York City for my birthday." He finishes and she smiled apologetically at him.
"It must be difficult to have no kind of independence."
He protested, "I have independence, I can do whatever I want. Ive just turned 21."
She chuckled, shaking her head. "So young. No wonder youre still dependent on them for everything."
He rubbed his thinly bearded chin. "Thats not true. I have my own trust fund that I have control over now. I can do with it whatever I want."
Condescendingly, Emma patted his hand. "Im sure you can. But Ive known boys like you and as much as you say you have your independence, you really dont." He begins to protest again and she silenced him, continuing, "If you could do anything you wanted, you would take me to see this penthouse of yours in New York City."
His eyes gleamed in the dim light of the cab as his young mind thought about the idea. "We can discuss that over dinner." He said, trying to regain some of the charm and suaveness he thought he had before she unsettled him.
Emma smirked. "Im sure we can."
"I have reservations for a table for two." Isabella kindly told the server. "The name is Isabella LaRue." The server looked up her name, and nodding, lead her to her table.
"Will the other person in your party be joining you?" The server inquired, setting down the menus.
"Yes, my fiancé will be here soon." She smiled, observing the server noticing her large engagement ring.
"Ill send him over as soon as he arrives." The server offered, pouring Isabella a glass of water.
She looked over the menu, deciding on the calamari, and surveys the crowd at the restaurant. Beautifully dressed women and elegant, tuxedo-clad men sit at the fine tables. "The entire place smells like money," Isabella said to herself and is rendered speechless when her gaze stops at an exquisite-looking woman sitting with a young man at a table overlooking Lake Michigan.
The woman is adorned in a dress that hugs her body perfectly. The deep onyx of the dress compliments her equally dark hair and fair skin. Through the crowd Isabella could determine perfectly the bright blue of the womans eyes and the slight pinkness of her lips and cheeks. "Shes beautiful." Isabella sighed, her gaze never leaving the tall womans face.
"May I take your order Madame, or will you be waiting for your fiancé?" The servers voice interrupted her and Isabella jumped in surprise.
"What time is it?" She asked the server.
"8:45 Madame." The server responded, looking at his pocket watch. Isabella sighed dramatically.
"I guess I should order. He is always late, being held up by business .or something." She sighed sadly. "Ill have the calamari, please. And a bottle of red wine." The server looked at her in surprise.
"Madame, you do know what the calamari is, correct?"
Isabella raised her eyebrows. "Of course I do." She stated haughtily. "I was raised on calamari. My family is very wealthy." She answered, and the server lowered his head in apology.
"My mistake, Madame." He retreated quickly, missing Isabellas amused face.
"I really shouldnt do that to people." She said out loud to herself. "But its just so much fun."
Concentrating her gaze back to the beautiful woman in black, Isabella didnt give a second thought to the server.
Emma, felt that someone was staring at her, and turned in her chair to look around the restaurant. She caught the gaze of a pretty young woman seated alone. "Such a shame, a beautiful woman like that dining alone." Emma mused to herself, making it a point to smile at the fair-haired woman.
Smiling back, the blonde woman looked away from Emmas intense stare. Emma smirked and returned her attention back to Adam. He was speaking about some horribly boring social occasion that his parents held every year and Emma had to resist from yawning. She glanced back to the blonde and heard her heated words to the server. "There is something about that woman that isnt right. What is she trying to pull?" Emma asked herself. Unable to resist her curiosity, she decided she had to find out.
"Youll excuse me for a moment, wont you Adam dear?" She purred before heading for the restroom. Making a point to walk directly towards the blonde woman, Emma used her most seductive smile as she slowly stalked towards Isabella. Pausing imperceptivity at the blond strangers table, their eyes met briefly before Emma continued on her path towards the restroom.
Her brow furrowing in thought, Isabella couldnt resist from following the gorgeous woman into the restroom.
Finding Emma standing at the marbled vanity applying deep crimson lipstick, Isabella smiled shyly.
"Hi." She offered to Emmas reflection in the mirror.
"Hello yourself." Emma answered cordially. Isabella began to think that she had gotten the wrong message and started to head back into the restaurant. "Wait." Emma ordered, and Isabella stopped in her tracks.
"Why are you dining alone?" Emma asked.
Isabella glanced at Emmas reflection in the mirror for a split second. "Should I lie to her or tell her the truth?" She pursed her lips in thought. "I cant exactly tell her that Im pulling a scam, can I?" Making up her mind, Isabella answered.
"My fiancé was supposed to meet me, but hes not here yet." Isabella lowered her eyes dejectedly.
"Bullshit." Emma stated, turning around from the vanity to meet Isabellas startled gaze. "That rock on your finger contains more glass than a mirror! And you honestly expect me to believe that you were raised on calamari?" Emma chuckled. "Shall I continue?"
Isabella felt her face get red with embarrassment. "You dont know what youre talking about." She answered hotly before turning to head out the door once again. Gracefully moving to block her path, Emma placed a gentle hand on Isabellas shoulder.
"I didnt mean to upset you." Emma answered honestly, locking her vivid blue eyes onto Isabellas face.
"Oh really?" Isabella snorted defensively. "You could have fooled me."
"Im sorry." Emma countered. "But you have to admit that Im right."
Sighing, Isabella avoided Emmas gaze. "Okay, youre right. Its a scam."
"And not a very good one." Emma responded. "What were you going to do, take peoples tip money off of the tables after they left?"
Isabella didnt answer, which sent Emma into hysterics.
"Are you serious?" Still laughing, she has to force herself to continue. "That is the oldest scam in the book, and one of the worst ones at that. You might as well go stand on the street and say your childrens Christmas money has been stolen!"
The look on Isabellas face tells Emma exactly how true that was and she has to lean against the restroom wall in order to not fall over from laughter. Isabella is fuming, her foot impatiently tapping the floor in an angry rhythm.
"And I suppose you can do better?" Isabella forcefully asked.
This caused Emma to quickly regain her composure. "I can."
"Oh really? And how am I supposed to expect that?"
"That young man Im dining with?" Emma asked and Isabella shook her head yes for her to continue.
"Hes taking me to New York City tonight after dinner."
"So?" Isabella countered. "That doesnt mean anything."
"Yes it does." Emma answered smugly. "I snuck into his parents country club today, found out who he was, put on a skimpy bathing suit to attract his attention, had him invite me to dinner and convinced him to take me to his penthouse in New York.
Isabella looked at her skeptically. "Youre good." Isabella concedes, and Emma grins.
"I know." Tossing the idea around in her head, she shrugs. "Would you like to join me?"
Isabella looks at her in surprise.
"Are you serious?"
Emma smiles, and suddenly takes Isabellas hand. "I am. I think wed make a great team. My name is Emma."
Isabella, looking at her hand in Emmas and feeling a strange feeling cant help but agree. "And mine, Isabella."
"Then its settled." Emma answered. "Go back to your squid. Ill contact you soon with the plans."
She disappeared from the restroom. Looking in the mirror, Isabella shook her head. "This is the strangest thing that could ever happen." She said to her reflection. "And what did she mean by squid?" Isabella paused, thinking. "Calamari is squid? EW!"
"I still cant believe you talked him into this!" Isabella hissed over Adams sleeping form.
"I told you I was good." Emma answered, never looking up from her newspaper.
Emma and Adam appeared at Isabellas table before leaving. Emma introduced Isabella as an "old school friend" to Adam, and Isabella, taking her cue from Emma played right along. Emma mentioned that Isabellas fiancé was in New York recovering from a war accident and it didnt look like he would survive the trip to Chicago. With perfect timing, Isabella burst into tears, putting Adam in an uncomfortable spot. Emma mused out loud how convenient it would be for Isabella to join them on their way over to the city, and Adam, not wanting to lose face in front of Emma, readily agreed.
Isabella promised to pay him back for the cost of the trip after she saw her dying fiancé and got his war bonds from him. Emma was proud of that one, Isabella could tell.
And now the three of them were on their way to New York. Isabella was excited, never having been to the East Coast before. "What are our plans after we get there?" She whispered, interrupting Emma from her reading again.
Emma just glared at her. "Can we possibly talk about this later?" She motioned to Adams lifeless form. Isabella, getting the hint, sighed at looked out at the night sky.
The rhythm of the train plodding down the track soon lulled Isabella to sleep, and Emma, looking up from her reading once again smiled amusedly at her two snoring companions.
Arriving in New York, the trio departed from the train station and climbed the series of steps out onto the sidewalk. Isabella stepped out onto the sidewalk and grinned. "The city is beautiful!" She remarked, admiring the tall buildings with architecture like shed never seen.
She was so immersed in staring at the city she didnt notice Emmas glare directed at her. Adam also looked at Isabella quizzically, wondering why this poor woman going to visit her dying fiancé was so happy. Emma decided to ignore the situation, remarking to Adam, "Poor dear. She just cant accept poor Peters injuries yet." Adam nodded in understanding and hailed a cab that would take them to his penthouse.
The three travelers got into the cab. "Where can we drop you off?" Adam asked Isabella politely.
"Oh, Adam dear, poor Isabella needs to come to your penthouse for just a while. Shes been on a train all night in her same clothes. You cant honestly expect her to go see her fiancé for the final time wearing those old things, can you?" Emma soothed.
Isabella shot her a dirty look as she looked down at her emerald green dress. It was her finest dress, and who was Emma to call it an "old thing?"
Ignoring Emma and smiling politely at Adam, Isabella asked gently, "Do you mind having me over for just a while so I may get freshened up?" Batting her deep green eyes seemed to work; Adam blushed and agreed easily.
"Actually Adam, we should stop off at Macys to get Isabella something clean to wear." Emma smiled, running her hand up the inside of Adams thigh. He gulped and looked at Isabella, who seemed oblivious to Emmas motions.
"Sure, anything you want." He stammered and leaned forward to inform the driver of the change in route. Sitting back in the seat he looked at Isabella, noticing for the first time how pretty her reddish-blonde curled hair was. Her face was so innocent and those eyes were so trusting. Adam found himself staring into those eyes, and thinking of how soft and polite Isabellas voice was compared to Emmas demanding tones.
Emma, never missing anything, watched the young man gaze longingly at Isabella. "Interesting." She mused to herself, contemplating the possibilities of Adam falling for Isabella. The shopping diversion would give her and Isabella some time to talk, and Emma realized that she had better think up a new plan, and fast. From the look on Adams face, she could tell that he was infatuated with Isabella. "I cant say I blame him." She told herself, knowing that the only reason she asked Isabella to join her was because she herself was interested in Isabella. "Theres just something about her, I dont know what it is." Emmas thoughts ran through her head.
"Theres just something about her, I dont know what it is." Adam thought as he continued to gaze at Isabella.
"Theres just something about her, I dont know what it is." Isabella reflected, thinking of the tall woman seated next to Adam. "Its those eyes, thats for sure. I feel like Im being started at by a hungry panther." Isabella chuckled, picturing Emma with a tail. She was so engrossed in her thoughts that she missed Adam and Emmas curious stares. "Why would she ask me to come to New York with her? What in the world would make her do that? She doesnt even know me!" Isabella shook her head slightly, trying to figure out Emmas motives.
Arriving outside of Macys, Emma took Adams arm. "We girls will shop and catch up on old times, how about we meet you for lunch there?" She asked, pointing at the small café on the corner. "That will give you some time to make sure your penthouse is ready for us." She practically purred the last statement, causing Adams face to turn bright red. He agreed and watched the two beautiful women enter the store.
"Get whatever you want." Emma told Isabella crisply, leading her towards the womens section.
"Um, Emma, I dont have any money on me." Isabella told her, causing Emma to laugh.
"Dont worry about it, just pick out whatever you want." Emma left her side to peruse the endless rows of dresses. Shrugging, Isabella sifted through the racks of beautiful gowns.
Holding up a red dress, Isabella
asked; "What about this?"
"No." Emma answered curtly. "Red isnt your color, it will clash with your hair. Stick to blue and greens and make sure they are discreet. You have to look like a lady."
Isabella scowled at her and put down the lovely red dress.
A few minutes later, the women made their way to the dressing areas, their arms loaded with clothes. Isabella went in one curtained section and began undressing. Slipping the first dress off of the hanger she jumped with fright when Emma entered suddenly.
"We have to talk." Emma started and then paused, unable to divert her mind from Isabellas half-clad body. Flustered, Isabella rushed to cover herself.
"We have to talk here?" Isabella began, motioning down to her undressed state. "Now?"
Emma nodded, her striking blue eyes never leaving Isabellas lithe body. "Listen, we have a lot to do and not much time."
"What is your plan? What exactly are we doing here? Actually, what am I doing here?" Isabella interrupted.
"Ill explain everything, okay?" Emma said and Isabella nodded, eager to hear what Emma had been brewing.
"Heres the plan." Emma began.
"So its easy." Isabella finished. "You found out about Adam because his parents are big shots in Chicago, and you knew that he just turned 21 and had a trust fund. You planned on getting him to take you to his New York penthouse, seducing the hell out of him, take his wallet and bank information and go withdraw all of his money."
Emma nodded. "Yes."
Isabella thoughts. "Why not just steal his wallet and go from there? Why go to all the trouble of seducing him?"
Emma smiled. "Because my dear, I dont want to steal his money. That could lead to big trouble and thats something I try to avoid. I need to seduce him, have proof of his willingness of my seduction, and then with that I can convince him to just give me the money, rather than slander his reputation."
"Thats blackmail." Isabella stated.
Emma smirked. "Yes it is. Poor little Adam wont want his reputation as a wholesome boy tarnished and will be more than happy to give up some of his precious trust fund."
Isabella conceded. "Its a good plan." She frowned suddenly. "But I feel guilty, hes such a nice guy."
Emma snorted. "Listen, there are no nice guys. Trust me on that one."
Letting the argument die, Isabella changed the subject. "So where do I come in?"
Smiling, Emma continued. "You are perfect. First, Adam seems to be completely infatuated with you. Thats great."
Interrupting, Isabella countered, "If hes infatuated with me, how are you going to seduce him?"
Emma smirked. "Dont worry." She continued. "Tonight Im going to leave you and Adam alone for awhile. In that time, make small talk, get to know him, really make him feel special and act like you really like him. And then first thing tomorrow youre going to go see your dying fiancé. You will return to the penthouse devastated because he died a few days ago, you never got to say goodbye, etc, etc. You will tell us that you came back to the penthouse because you didnt know where else to go, and now because your fiancé is dead you are broke."
"What?" Isabella broke in, confused.
Emma rolled her eyes and explained. "You told Adam you would pay him back with your fiancés war bonds, correct? Okay, well now that your fiancé died, you dont get the bonds, his family does. His family hates you because youre a poor orphan and they wanted better for their son. So you come to the penthouse completely destroyed, wailing about how youre broke and an orphan and your fiancé is dead, and Adam will fall for it completely."
Pausing to regain her breath, Emma laughed. "If I play my cards right, I might get him to ask you to marry him right there on the spot!"
Isabella furrowed her brow. "Im puzzled. That doesnt seem like it fits in your original plan."
Emma sighed. "It doesnt. A good con artist always has a flexible plan."
Emma smiled at Isabella, thinking how cute she looked standing in the dressing area in nothing but her slip and a befuddled look on her face. "May I finish?" She asked, and Isabella motioned for her to proceed. "Finally, you and Adam will be engaged or whatever, and then I will seduce him. The blackmail will be a bigger threat if hes actually set to be married. Ill time it just after hes sent word to his parents and theyve notified the Chicago press."
"Great plan." Isabella remarked. "I still feel guilty though."
"Dont." Emma stated.
"One more question." Isabella quipped.
"Anything." Emma responded.
"Why did you ask me to come here with you? You dont even know me." Isabella questioned, her green eyes trusting.
Shrugging, Emma didnt know how to answer her. "Im not sure." She admitted. "I saw you staring at me and thought you were interesting, like Id met you before."
"Youve never met me." Isabella answered. "I wouldnt forget someone like you."
Emma smiled, a faint blush covering her face. "Well, I dont think Id forget you either. It just seemed right to ask you."
"Im glad you did." Isabella responded, her voice hushed. "I dont know what it is about you Emma, but "
"I know." Emma interrupted, lifting her hand to caress Isabellas shoulder. Her skin burned under Emmas touch and Isabellas face flushed.
"Im frightened." Isabella told her honestly and Emma nodded.
"Dont be." Emma answered.
They stared into each others eyes, neither willing to admit the powerful feelings they were having for the other. Finally Emma took the initiative and gently kissed Isabella on the cheek. "Try on your clothes and hurry, or well be late." She told the blonde woman as she left the dressing area. Isabella placed her hand over her cheek that Emma kissed, feeling the fire from the tall womans lips.
Emma and Isabella strolled into the café, their arms loaded down with bags. Adam was already seated and jumped up to help the women out as soon as he spotted them. "Well, it looks like it was a productive time!" He exclaimed loudly and Emma rolled her eyes.
While they ate, Isabella contemplated what happened in the dressing area. "This is all new to me." She thought to herself. "And I cant believe that Emma just stole all of those clothes. She just asked the salesman for shopping bags to hold all of our things while we were browsing and filled them to the brim with clothes. Then we just walked out of the store like we bought everything!" Isabella paused, remembering the fluid way Emma worked. "Sure, Ive pulled a few cons, mostly little ones like the stolen purse and stealing tip money, but this is big time." She narrowed her eyes, and continued thinking. "Blackmail, you can go to jail for that, cant you?"
Jail wasnt somewhere she wanted to go. It was bad enough that she had to visit her father there from the time she was a child. She shuddered, remembering how twice a week her mother would take her to see her father. It always scared Isabella, the fact that she could see her father through the glass but not touch him or make sure he was real. And on the way home, her mother would cry and shout and say mean things to Isabella.
"Not happy memories, are they?" Isabella told herself. "This is why you have to make enough money, so you can get an education and have a better life." Isabella had this conversation in her head every time she began to feel guilty about conning people out of their money. It didnt always work, and Isabella constantly had a nagging sense of guilt about her "profession."
So entrenched in her thoughts, Isabella didnt notice Adam and Emma staring at her.
"Isabella?" Emma asked for the fourth time.
"Sorry, what?" Isabella answered, her face flushed.
Emma gently took her hand, saying to Adam, "The poor dear is so concerned for her fiancé."
Recovering quickly, Isabella took the lead. "Thats right, Edward is such a lovely man and I do hope he will be okay."
"Edward?" Adam asked curiously. "I thought his name was Peter?"
Looking quickly at Emma, Isabella struggled for an answer.
"Edward is his middle name, and Isabella has called him that for ages." Emma said, smiling. Adam looked confused, but let the matter drop.
Kicking Emma under the table, Isabella glared at her. "How was I supposed to know that Emma already gave him a name?" Isabella thought to herself. She sighed and finished her lunch.
"So thats how you and Peter, I mean Edward, met?" Adam asked, thinking of the wonderfully romantic story Isabella just told him. They were seated on the chaise lounge in Adams beautiful penthouse that overlooked the city. Sharing a bottle of wine, Isabella felt relaxed and comfortable. Adam was a very nice person, a little bit of a drip, but very sweet.
Emma was right; Adam was completely smitten by Isabella. Knowing this, Isabella was careful to do exactly what Emma said and discreetly flirt with him.
"Do you love him?" Adam asked suddenly, a look of fear in his eyes.
"Yes." Isabella said simply, "But Im not in love with him." She answered. "My heart belongs to another, one that Ive just met." Isabella lowered her head, knowing she was only saying this to lead Adam on, but thinking only of her feelings for Emma.
She missed the tall woman. Emma excused herself for the evening, claiming she was going to drop in on an old friend for an hour or so. Glancing at the clock, Isabella saw that Emma has already been gone an hour.
"Oh." Adam managed, his voice caught in his throat. Isabella looked into his eyes and found them shining with happiness. As Adam leaned forward to kiss her, Isabella closed her eyes in despair.
"Oh great." She sighed to herself as he leaned in closer, willing Emma to walk through the door.
As on cue, Emma entered through the front door. "Thank God." She mumbled as Emma looked at them seated on the chaise. Emma ignored Isabellas comment, but could see from the happiness on Adams face that Isabella had done her job.
"Im exhausted." Emma said, setting down her purse. "I think we should turn in. Isabella has a big day tomorrow, going to see Edward and all." Isabella agreed, wanting to get away from the lovesick Adam for the night.
"Where shall we sleep?" Isabella asked, and instantly regretted the question when she saw the look on Adams face.
"Adam will take his room, and Isabella, you and I can share the guest room." Emma stated firmly, squelching all Adams hopes about the sleeping arrangements.
"No need," Adam stated chivalrously. "Ill sleep here on the chaise and Isabella can have my room."
"No." Emma countered in a decisive tone. "Isabella and I had to share a room while in boarding school. Were used to it."
She headed off towards the guest room and Isabella, shrugging, followed her. As she walked down the hall she heard Adams audible sigh and couldnt help but feel a little sorry for him.
"Goodnight Emma." Isabella said softly from her side of the large bed. Emma didnt answer, and Isabella frowned.
"Whats the matter?" She asked Emma.
"What happened between the two of you?" Emma asked sharply.
"Nothing! We just talked, and he was about to kiss me when you walked in." Isabella answered defensively.
"Sorry I interrupted the two of you then." Emma countered and turned over facing away from the blonde woman.
"Yes you did interrupt." Isabella responded tersely. Softening her tone, she added, "Thank you."
Emma turned back around to face Isabella, mussing up the bedclothes. "What?" She asked, her voice a whisper.
"I didnt want to do anything with Adam, and Im glad you came in or I think I would have punched him and wrecked our entire plan." Isabella told her, smiling.
"Im sorry." Emma stated, her eyes a deep blue in the dim light. "I didnt mean to accuse you of anything, I just felt that I walked in on a situation that I didnt want you to be in."
"Its okay." Isabella said, her hand finding Emmas under the blankets. Curling up on her side, Emma shut her eyes. Her deep and even breathing calmed Isabella and she too shut her eyes. All she could think about was Adams face coming closer and closer to hers and how she wished it was Emmas face.
"What are these feelings I am having?" Isabella asked herself, unsure of how she felt for the tall woman. "How can I feel this attraction to a woman?" Isabella couldnt get a grasp on the feelings that she had for Emma. "I think that shes beautiful, intelligent, dangerous, and mysterious." Isabella stated, looking at Emmas still face.
"I want to touch her." Isabella thought, her hand gently touching Emmas face out of its own accord. Isabella felt the smooth, soft skin of Emmas face, the tenderness of her lips, and the silkiness of her hair. Scooting closer to the tall woman, Isabella could feel the heat of Emmas skin radiating onto her own body.
"I wished it was you trying to kiss me." Isabella whispered, finally admitting her true feelings for the tall woman.
"I wished it was me, too." Emma responded, her eyes firmly shut. Isabella jumped with surprise and moved back over to her side of the bed. Emma opened her eyes and sat up halfway in bed. "Dont be scared Isabella, its okay." Emma answered, seeing Isabellas look of fear and shame.
"Do you feel this way?" Isabella asked Emma, wanting to know the tall womans true feelings.
"From the moment I looked at you." Emma responded honestly, her voice smooth.
"Is that why you asked me to join you here?" Isabella asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes." Emma stated simply. "Ive never felt about anyone the way I felt about you, and that was just seeing you across the room. From the way you were staring at me, I assumed you felt it too."
"I did." Isabella answered, her face flushing with embarrassment.
"Are you scared?" Emma asked, her voice soft.
"Yes." Isabella answered quickly. "Are you?"
"No." Emma countered. "Im not scared, just happy that I found you."
Smiling, Isabella moved closer to Emma. "Im not sure what to do. Ive never done this before." She said softly, lowering her head.
"Dont worry." Emma told her, gently taking her hand and kissing it. Emma gently moved her tall body next to Isabellas. Leaning over, Emma sweetly kissed Isabellas full mouth. Moaning, Isabella answered the kiss hungrily. Pushing Emmas body into the mattress, Isabella placed herself on top of Emma, their mouths never leaving each other.
Pulling away, Emma stated, "I think youre a natural." Isabella answered her with another hungry kiss.
"We should leave." Emma said, holding Isabella in her arms. Isabella lifted her head from Emmas soft breasts and smiled sleepily.
"Leave? Why?" She asked before setting her head back down.
"Because, I think the plan has changed." Emma answered her. "The thought of having to seduce Adam while my heart belongs to you is making me feel sick." Emma answered honestly. "I love you Isabella, and I dont want any other." She finished.
Isabella was speechless, not believing that Emma actually loved her. She wasnt sure if she loved Emma before they had made love all night, but she knew it surely now.
"And I love you Emma." Isabella answered, smiling as she said the words.
"We should leave." Emma stated again, echoing her own thoughts.
"What do you want to do?" Isabella asked.
"I have enough money saved up from conning people over the years and Id like to try to make an honest living now. I dont want us to constantly have to look over our shoulders. I dont want that kind of life for you." Emma stated fiercely. "You deserve better."
"I dont want to fraud people anymore either." Isabella answered. "I dont want to lead a life on the run."
"Lets go back to Chicago, collect what we need and then go. Ive always wanted to travel, and see the world." Emma told her.
"I cant think of anything Id like better than to travel around the world with you." Isabella answered and Emma smiled.
They dressed quickly and left Adam a farewell note. "What does it say?" Emma asked as they quietly shut the door.
"Adam, be careful. There are a lot of bad and beautiful women in the world that will do you wrong. Thankfully, two of them found each other. Love, Isabella and Emma." Isabella told her.
"Thats perfect, Isabella." Emma answered, laughing as they got in the elevator taking them down to the sidewalk.
"Actually, its Margaret." Isabella answered. "But call me Maggie, please. I hate the name Margaret"
Emma laughed. "Nice to meet you Maggie." She held the door open for Maggie and they headed out into the winter morning.
Hailing a cab, the two women got in. Unable to resist any longer, Maggie asked. "Whats your real name?"
Emma chuckled. "Youll find out someday." She took Maggies hand. "You have forever to find out."
Maggie smiled. "Im looking forward to it."
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